16 Jan 2013

Tonga government aims to revive fishing industry

3:36 pm on 16 January 2013

Tonga's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says it hopes to revive the fishing industry.

The Ministry recently sold 12 tuna fishing licenses to foreign operators for more than 150,000 US dollars in total to increase the number of fishing vessels operating in Tonga's waters.

The ministry's Chief Executive Officer, Vailala Matoto, acknowledges there has been criticism of Tonga's fishing industry following a decline in recent years.

He says the ministry hopes to collect better data to prove there is sufficient catch and is working to help local fishing companies.

"We are currently working on things like infrastructure and also schemes to make finance available to people who want to get involved but don't have the privilege."

Vailala Matoto says he would prefer it if all fishing licenses were granted to locals.